10 English Collocations with Say (A Smart Way to Sound More Fluent)

by | Jun 12, 2019 | 16 comments

You know when you’re choosing what to wear, certain colors, shapes and patterns just go together really well and make an outfit really pop and look fabulous? Well, words are the same. Words that just fit together so nicely that everyone tends to use them in that way are collocations, like make friends, not get friends, that sounds awkward. And heavy snow or heavy rain, but not strong snow or rain.

Learning some of these English collocations, or best friend words, can make it quick and easy to put a sentence together. Using them regularly will help you sound more fluent as well.

It’s something native speakers do without a second thought, and it saves time and effort.

Today you’ll learn and practice 10 English collocations with the word say, which according to Word Frequency Data is the 19th most frequently used word in English. 

Can you identify the correct collocations in this video?

Lesson by Annemarie

English Collocations with the Word Say

Review the questions below and see if you can identify the correct English collocation. Then check your answers below.

Number 1: Imagine you have enjoyed a fantastic dinner with friends. When you say goodbye you want to tell them what a great time you’ve had. Which of these collocations works best here?

I can _____ say this has been a fabulous evening!

  1. Justly
  2. Honestly
  3. Happily


Number 2: Let’s say your colleague has really stepped up and supported you on your project this week. You want to thank they before leaving the office. Which collocation would fit?

I ____________ say thanks for all the help

  1. Only should to
  2. Need to
  3. Just wanted to


Number 3: Imagine this terrible situation. Two colleagues at work really don’t like each other. When talking about their relationship which could you say?

It’s _____ say they’re not friends.

  1. Fair to
  2. Good to
  3. Correct to


Number 4: What if there is a huge argument going on and someone asks your opinion?! Trying to avoid giving your opinion you say:

I have __________ say on the matter. I’m staying out of it!

  1. Something to
  2. Anything to
  3. Nothing to


Number 5: Saying something to say is quite the opposite. If your friend says this, what does she mean?

I can’t believe she did that! You really should say something!

It means:

  1. You should speak up and tell someone about the problem
  2. You need to choose which thing is important to talk about
  3. You should not let her be quiet about this


Number 6: Let’s look at a similar English collocation – have something to say. What do you think it means?

Oh dear, when she sees this mess she’s going to have something to say!

  1. Talking a lot
  2. Angry
  3. Asking many questions


Number 7: Let’s look at one more collocation with something, so you are clear about the different ways we use it. From these examples, what do you think ‘says something about’ means?

What you do under pressure says something about you.

Our homes say something about us.

The career you choose says something about you.


Numbers 8 & 9. We have two sayings that mean ‘obviously’ or ‘of course’. Which ones do you think have this meaning?

  1. It goes without saying
  2. Needless to say
  3. No saying
  4. I’m not saying


Number 10: Last but not least we have an old saying that parents all over the world teach their children. Can you identify the missing words:

If you can’t say _______ nice, don’t say ________ at all!

Now that you’ve completed the questions, check your answers for the right English collocations with the word say and get additional examples.

Number 1: b. I can honestly say this has been a fabulous evening!

‘Honestly say’ is often used with the modal verb ‘can’ and means, I’m telling the truth when I say that…

For example:

  • Can you honestly say you still enjoy working there?
  • I can honestly say I really tried my best.
  • Can she honestly say she’s happy with this situation?
  • We can honestly say this has been the best experience!


Number 2: c. I just wanted to say thanks for all the help.

This is a polite way to say ‘I would like to say something’. Like all collocations these words roll off the tongue and sound right together.

Here are some good examples:

  • I just wanted to say how much I appreciate your support.
  • I just wanted to say how much fun it has been.
  • I just wanted to say I really love the gift, thank you!
  • I don’t think we’ve me, so I just wanted to say hello and introduce myself.


Number 3: a. It’s fair to say they’re not friends.

‘It’s fair to say’ means something is probably true. For example:

  • It’s fair to say that no one likes paying tax.
  • It’s fair to say you want your family around to support you when things are tough.
  • It’s fair to say most people love going on vacation.


Number 4: c. I have nothing to say on the matter. I’m staying out of it!

If you say you have ‘nothing to say’ you might be choosing not to talk about it. We often hear famous people say this to the media or journalists, when they don’t want to comment on a scandal, something embarrassing or private:

  • I have nothing to say at this time!

And criminals lawyers often say this outside the courthouse:

  • My client has nothing to say on this matter currently before the court!

Or you might say it because you are angry and be choosing not to talk to someone:

  • I have nothing to say to you!
  • She has nothing to say to the man who broke her heart!


Number 5: a. ’say something’ means you need to confront someone or report a problem, you need to stand up and speak out about an issue. For example:

  • If you know someone is doing the wrong thing at work, you should say something.
  • She has important information about the crime! She should say something!


Number 6: b. She’s going to be mad and maybe even yell about it.


Number 7:Since we know homes and careers can’t talk, this means these things indirectly show what someone or something is like.

So how you react under pressure shows whether you are a calm, level-headed person or an anxious one who freaks out. And the job you choose shows what you are good at, interested in or value. Your home might reveal that you are into modern design or that you enjoy traditional architecture.


Numbers 8 & 9. a. and b. are both correct. You can use them like this:

  • Needless to say, I forgave her and we are still really close friends.
  • She’s afraid of blood, needless to say, she won’t become a doctor.
  • It goes without saying that you can call me anytime.
  • She’s my best friend, it goes without saying that she will be the maid of honor at my wedding.


Number 10: If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all! Wise words to keep us all out of trouble by keeping quiet rather than saying something nasty!

❤️this lesson?

Be sure to check out: Collocations in English with the word Think

Now you have 10 ways to put sentences together more fluently using collocations with say. This is a great time to practice what you have learned.

How would you use any of the collocations you learned in this lesson to respond to these situations:

  1. Your best friend has been treated unfairly by a colleague at work. What do you say to your best friend?
  2. A friend is searching for a new home with their partner. They don’t agree on what kind of home they want and keep arguing. As a result, their search for a new home is taking much longer than expected. What do you say?

You can share your answers and get feedback in the comments section below.

Have a fantastic Confident English Wednesday!

~ Annemarie

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